June 19, 2007

RFS Pharma and Genoscience Pharma Sign Joint Venture Agreement to Discover and Develop Protease Inhibitors


Atlanta, GA, USA and Marseille, France, June 19, 2007 – RFS Pharma, LLC, and Genoscience Pharma today announced the formation of a drug discovery joint venture to develop promising protease inhibitors for the treatment of lifethreatening viral infections. Protease inhibitors are a class of antiviral drugs that block the viral protease enzyme. When the enzyme is blocked, the virus is unable to infect new cells.

Dr. Raymond F. Schinazi, Founder and Executive Director of RFS Pharma, said, “Genoscience’s excellent molecular modeling capabilities, coupled with our expertise in pharmacology and drug development, will accelerate the identification and development of protease inhibitors as clinical candidates. This strategic alliance expands the breath of our company beyond our expertise in nucleoside analogs. Genoscience also provides RFS Pharma with a presence in Europe for further expansion.”

Under the agreement, RFS Pharma and Genoscience will collaborate on the discovery, optimization, and development of lead compounds into therapeutic agents. Dr. Philippe Halfon, Founder and CEO of Genoscience, said, “We are confident in the collaboration’s ability to develop novel protease inhibitors, and we look forward to a very productive relationship with RFS Pharma. This is our first joint venture with a US company, and it should accelerate our efforts.”

This partnership will further support both companies’ continuing commitment to discover and develop novel protease inhibitors, aimed at tackling the development of viral resistance. At a time when the number of people diagnosed with life-threatening viral infections is expected to increase significantly, the discovery of next generation protease inhibitors, with improved efficacy, pharmacology, safety, and convenience over current regimens, is essential.

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